Breast Self-Exam (BSE)

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  • Do you do a Breast Self-Exam regularly? Every Month?
  • I do a BSE every month. I am prone to be very cystic so it is in my best interest to keep an eye out for any abnormities.

    For those that do not do SBE or do not know how to check, here are some simple steps:

    Self-Breast Examination in front of a Mirror

    Stand before a mirror. Inspect your breasts for anything unusual, such as any discharge from the nipple, or a puckering, dimpling or scaling of the skin. If you’ve had a mastectomy, inspect the scar for new swelling, lumps, redness or color changes.

    Watching closely in the mirror, clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward. Next, press your hands firmly on your hips and bow slightly toward the mirror as you pull your shoulders and elbows forward.

    Raise your right arm. Using three or four fingers of your other hand, explore your breast firmly, carefully and thoroughly. Beginning at the outer edge, press with the flat part of your fingers moving in small circles slowly around the breast. Gradually work toward the nipple. Be sure to cover the entire breast. Pay special attention to the area between the breast and underarm, including the underarm itself. Feel for any unusual lump or mass under the skin.

    Gently squeeze the nipple and look for a discharge. Raise your left arm and repeat Step 3. Lumps, thickening and puckering of the skin are changes you should bring to your doctor’s attention.
    Repeat steps three and four lying down. Lie flat on your back, raise your right arm over your head and place a pillow or folded towel under your shoulder. This position flattens the breast and makes it easier to examine. Use the same circular motion described earlier. Repeat on the other side.

    SBE Lying Down

    Place a pillow under your right shoulder. Put your right hand under your head. Check your entire breast area with the finger pads of your left hand. Use small circles and follow an up and down pattern. Use light, medium and firm pressure over each area of your breast. Repeat these steps on your left breast.

    SBE In The Shower

    Raise your right arm. With soapy hand and fingers flat, check your right breast. Use the method described in the "Lying Down" step. Repeat on your left breast.

    Report any changes to your doctor or nurse. Go for regular breast exams and pap tests. Ask about a mammogram.

    Trouble signs that should not be ignored

    Although doctors are specially trained to find breast lumps and a mammogram can find even smaller lumps, most breast lumps are found by women themselves at home. A woman who knows the look and feel of her own breasts may notice a new lump or a change in-between doctor visits.

    When you do your breast self-exam every month, look and feel for the following signs of possible problems in your breast or underarm area. If you notice any of them, make an appointment to show them to a trained medical professional right away.

    ~ lumps, hard knot or thickening in any part of the breast ~unusual swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening that does not go away
    ~ change in the size or shape of your breast
    ~ dimpling or puckering of the skin of your breast
    ~ an itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
    ~ pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast
    ~ nipple discharge that starts suddenly
    ~ pain in one spot that does not vary with your monthly cycle

    Lastly, Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. After all, men have breast tissue also. The overall ratio of female to male breast cancer in the U.S. is 100 to 1.1 Although it sounds like a small number, that is still roughly 1,500 men who will be diagnosed, and about 400 who will die of the disease in a given year 2002.2

    The most common symptoms of male breast cancer include a lump in the breast or a nipple abnormality. Because breast cancer is so much more common in females, many men do not even realize they can develop this disease. Unfortunately, this can delay diagnosis and as a result, some cancers are not found until they have progressed to a later stage. However, when cancer is found at the same stage among men and women, the survival rates are similar. Because the male breast is much smaller than the female breast, it is more likely the disease will spread to the chest wall. For this reason, it is important to find the cancer early in order to successfully treat it.

    For more information Breast Cancer Info is a very informative site.
  • Great info on the BSE. I do mine every month after my cycle. I found my first lump in 1985, benign and another in 1994, benign too! So I have been lucky!

    I have a mammogram every year and they aren't as bad as everyone thinks.

    What I have learned is not to panic! Most lumps are not cancer!

    For even more info, check out:

    I hope all women will do their BSE every month, 1 week after your period stops.

    Here's to womens health!

  • Funding Mammograms
    Hi ladies! We all know how important this subject is - I wanted to tell you about a site I found that helps fund free mammograms for women that can't afford them. Go to There is a full explanation of their services and a place where just by clicking, you help fund mammograms..... you don't have to buy anything, sign up for anything or any of that stuff. If you want, they will send you a daily reminder to "click".... and the reminder takes you to the exact spot and tells you how many times you've clicked in the last week, month and year. I think this is a great cause and hope everyone will spread the word!

    Take care of you!

    Cassie - Jiggly
  • Wonderful News Jigglypuff, now no one has a reason not to get a mammogram. So come on ladies lets go get swished! lol

  • Does anyone find Mammograms painful? I had mine on Tues. and I was almost in you think it was the person doing it?I have never had this much pain before and I have mammograms every year.

  • Janet , the Fibro may have got ya...or your cycle time, or the tech....or she may have dragged you about instead of lifting , placing nice, nice...

    This last mamo was really actually (dare I say it) comfortable for me.

    The last one was five years before....the reason I waited five years was because it was EXCRUSIATINGLY PAINFUL

    Bruising..aching...soreness..charlyhorse muscles of the chest wall...I had been abused.

    The doc said my fibro had flared. I blamed it on the TECH! Also it wasn't at the right time in my menstrual cycle. It really should be just around ovulation..mid cycle, otherwise, the estrogen effects on your breast tissue makes the glands swell, and for those of us with fibrocyctic breasts, it's very painful...

    Also for those of us with FIBROcystic breasts and FIBROmyalgia...., if you're in a flare a mamo is going to be a bitch. Plain and simple.

    REST..WARM or COLD compresses (whichever give you relief) anti-inflamatories and analgesics..if you're not better by the time you reading this post, call your GYN.

    Hang in there friend, and try to remember this adivce for next year. Val
  • Monthly breast exams are VERY important for each and every one of us!

    However, yearly mammograms are also important once you reach that "magic" age of 40.

    I was 36 when I had my first mammogram. I did not have another one until almost two weeks ago.........I am now 41.

    Although I have done monthly exams, the mammogram I had showed a mass in my left breast that no one knew was there. I'd just had my yearly exam with my OB/GYN in late May and even she did not pick up on it when she examined my breasts. I was told by the surgeon that it was in a tricky position and thats why we missed it.

    I had not even gone to my doctor for anything in my left breast! I had gone due to a pain that I thought started in my right under arm and radiated into the right breast. The doctor saw it differently and sent me for a mammogram. The mammogram showed Fibrocystic Breast Disease in both breasts BUT also picked up that mass!

    Talk about PANIC when they said I needed a follow-up ultrasound to the left breast!

    To make a long story shorter..........I had surgery just yesterday to remove the mass. This morning when I went back to the surgeon's office to have the drainage tube removed, he was happy to inform me that the pathology report showed that the mass removed was a benign fibroadenoma.

    Now I have to recuperate from surgery and learn to deal with this Fibrocystic Breast Disease!

    So remember ladies..........monthly exams are very important but so are those regular mammograms! Don't assume that you don't need bother with a mammogram just because you do monthly exams! do I go on living without chocolate????!!!!
  • Thanks Lifestar for all the advice and encouragement. I am feeling somewhat better today....I slept well and kept my bra on for sleeping. I think it was the Tech,and the new machine...I will mention it to my doctor at my next appointment.
    I used the heating felt better than ice...even the muscles in my upper back hurt...I think from being stretched and then pushed back. It sure did feel like I had my boob in a wringer!

  • I forgot about this site:

    Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.